If you’re a parent and you assume part or all of the responsibility of running a household, you’ll be all too aware that life can get expensive. If your finances aren’t in order, you may find that you struggle to make ends meet or get through rough patches. While it’s not always possible to predict what is going to happen, taking steps to manage your money could make all the difference if life doesn’t quite pan out as expected. If you’re keen to save and adopt a firmer grip on your finances, here are some simple strategies to try.
Don’t go another month without a budget
If you don’t already budget for the month ahead, now is the time to embrace this practice. Budgeting is an incredibly useful means of keeping track of the activity in your accounts and reducing the risk of overspending. If you run into cash flow issues on a regular basis, budgeting will help you to control spending, and prevent gaps in funding between paydays. It couldn’t be simpler to draw up a budget. All you need to do is grab a notepad or open a new spreadsheet and write down every payment you expect to go into and out of your account that month.
It’s always a clever idea to have a column of regular outgoings, for example, cell phone and health insurance bills, and to have a separate list of one-off payments you’ll incur that specific month, for example, a service for the car or your child’s birthday gifts. Once you’ve got all the numbers on the page in front of you, you can do a basic sum to see how much is left over. This will help you draw up a spending and saving strategy.
Prepare for the unexpected
Nobody wants to go through life worrying about bolts out of the blue that could put a dent in their finances, but the reality is that none of us knows what’s around the corner. Your car could break down, you might need surgical treatment after slipping over, or your pet might fall ill unexpectedly. It’s always a clever idea to have money set aside so that you have a fund to dip into if you need money quickly.
Although there are options like contacting an online loan lender, it’s best to use any savings you have before borrowing money, especially if you’re already paying loans or credit cards off. If you have a bit of money left over at the end of the month, transfer it into a savings account, which is accessible at any time.
Take a tighter hold on spending
If you want to put more money away, the best thing to do is try and reduce spending. Take a look at your household bills, insurance premiums and how much you spend on groceries and luxury items and try and shave a bit of money off every outgoing payment. Shop around for the best deals, try to cut energy usage, and take advantage of new customer offers if your premiums or contracts are due for renewal. One of the things we’ve looked at was saving money on our utility bills. We turn the lights off when we leave the room and watch how much heat and air we use. We have visited every avenue possible to take a tighter hold on spending.
If you’re a dad on a mission to save, hopefully, you’ve found these tips useful.